Full throt­tle

Thrilling is the name of the game this week as sleuths, ex-as­sas­sins and am­a­teur in­ves­ti­ga­tors go about their busi­ness

DRUM - - Chill Out -

THE QUIET SIDE OF PAS­SION BY ALEXAN­DER MCCALL SMITH (LIT­TLE, BROWN) R299*

Is­abel Dal­housie is back with an­other mildly per­ilous mys­tery to solve in her beloved Ed­in­burgh.

This time round she’s faced with a pa­ter­nity dilemma. Is­abel has be­friended a some­what pushy mother at the playschool her son at­tends and dis­cov­ers the woman is de­mand­ing child sup­port from a man who’s not her son’s fa­ther.

When Is­abel and her hus­band Jamie see the woman hav­ing din­ner with a de­cid­edly dodgy man she de­cides to in­ves­ti­gate and her en­quiries soon land her in dan­ger.

Mean­while, she’s em­ployed an as­sis­tant to help her on the jour­nal she ed­its and an au pair, both of whose love-life dilem­mas cre­ate more prob­lems. Added to this, her niece Cat has be­come in­volved with a ma­cho South African whom Is­abel can’t de­cide if she likes.

Through all these sit­u­a­tions Is­abel ap­plies her idle philo­soph­i­cal mus­ings which are thought­pro­vok­ing and very funny. This is the 12th Dal­housie novel and once again Alexan­der McCall Smith has come up with a win­ner. – SANDY COOK

THE BOY IN THE HEAD­LIGHTS BY SA­MUEL BJORK (PEN­GUIN RAN­DOM HOUSE) R249*

When the body of a bal­le­rina is found in a moun­tain lake, Norway’s top de­tec­tives are called in. Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors Hol­ger Munch and Mia Krüger have a his­tory of solv­ing the most com­plex crimes in Oslo, and in the third book of the crime se­ries they must catch a se­rial killer be­fore he strikes again.

It took a while to get stuck into this novel as it’s very char­ac­ter­driven, with rather unusual names. The trans­la­tion also made the book read in clipped tones but once I got over that I was dis­ap­pointed by the pre­dictable cli­max, which was reached too soon af­ter a very long build-up.

Not the most grip­ping or in­tense crime thriller, but okay to pick up if you want to pass time. – LAVERN DE VRIES

THE WEDDING GUEST BY JONATHAN KELLER­MAN (BAL­LAN­TINE) R270*

The best­selling au­thor is back with an­other Alex Delaware thriller – and once again the gifted psy­chol­o­gist uses his skills to help his best friend, De­tec­tive Milo Stur­gis, solve a puz­zling crime.

The ac­tion kicks off at a wedding where a bridesmaid dis­cov­ers a dead woman in­side a bath­room.

As al­ways, Jonathan Keller­man takes the reader on a long and grip­ping jour­ney with many twists and turns be­fore wind­ing things up at the end. His knack for weav­ing in bits of hu­mour – Milo’s dry wise­cracks just get bet­ter and bet­ter – and Alex’s per­sonal life with his sexy girl­friend, Robin, make for lighter mo­ments.

When you reach the 34th book in a se­ries you’re al­most ex­pect­ing the writ­ing to be a bit for­mu­laic, but this hasn’t hap­pened – which is tes­ta­ment to Keller­man’s undis­puted tal­ent. – NICI DE WET

OUT OF THE DARK BY GREGG HUR­WITZ (PEN­GUIN) R319*

Evan Smoak was taken from an or­phan­age at 12 and trained to be a su­per as­sas­sin as part of the Or­phan Pro­gram. Af­ter leav­ing the pro­gramme he rein­vented him­self as the Nowhere Man, the per­son des­per­ate peo­ple can turn to. But at the same time he’s had to keep a low pro­file be­cause since the pro­gramme was dis­con­tin­ued, some­one at the very high­est level of govern­ment has been try­ing to elim­i­nate all traces of it by killing the re­main­ing or­phans. Now Evan has made it his goal to kill that per­son – the pres­i­dent of the US. This is the fourth novel in the Or­phan X se­ries, and it’s ac­tion all the way. Evan is smart and dan­ger­ous – he kills bad guys with­out hes­i­ta­tion – but he has his prin­ci­ples. He re­minds me of the TV char­ac­ter Dex­ter. I can’t wait for the next Or­phan X. – AN­DRÉ J BRINK

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